Saturday, 10 November 2012

Research Dilemma 3- 'The Rainy Field'


Teling this dilemma is as difficult as its experience was (and expected to be for the rest of the time that i am in the field).  With the start of the Elnino rains, travelling to collect data in Kenya is becoming more hectic than I ever thought. Last week I had to travel to Egerton University for data collection in the afternoon, and the Elnino rains were on their best for this day. From the time i woke up, to the time i boarded the Nakuru matatus after running several errands in the city, it was raining as if i was in grey England. I remember sitting on the matatu one hour to my Egerton appointment, and it was raining heavily, byt this time, i was 150 Km away from the university. There is no way i would make there on time given the heavy rains and the hustle of using public transport in Kenya.

Somehow, I still made it to the university and met the students. And the other interesting dilemma happens; when you get more than you requested for. After all that waiting, I still had 20 students waiting to meet me for a focus group discussion! Ideally I am running groups of 7-8 students per every focus group discussion for my research. On this particular day, despite the grey weather, and arriving one hour later, 20 students were eager to take part in my research. This can be difficult if you don’t have good people skills! Luckily  I was able to pull through it albeit all the challenges of shutting out some students. What this taught me is that: despite all the challenges that the young people are going through, there are aspirations and desires of their heart, that, not the rains, nor the time, or even the un-availability of support structures that can take this away from them. They are ready and willing to perpetuate through to make these desires and aspirations come true. We discussed all these dreams and aspirations as we watched the grey day close. To warm our hearts and our bodies,  the J.F Kennedy Students Mess had a good cup of tea to share with all of them! Thats one dilemma overcome!

Returning from Egerton was yet another dilemma. Thinking that going back to Nairobi on the Saturday mid-morning would be sunny and bright, I was so wrong!  Between Nakuru and Naivasha was a hailstorm……too strong that we had to park on the side and wait until it was safe enough to drive! At that moment, all the beautiful memories of my research were washed away by the fear of not making it to Nairobi! One would not avoid at that moment, to think of the horrible cases of flooding that the country has experienced before. It horrified me too!

But the most important thing is, I made it back to Nairobi safe and sound, I regained my research memory and now I am back to field! Facing more dilemmas as I near the end of my appointments with students.


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